Part 3 of True Improvement vs Illusion of Progress, a presentation by Peter Scholtes. Peter gave this presentation at George Washington University in 1990. See our previous posts on part 1 and part 2 of the presentation.
Peter addresses a common question for those seeking to improve the management of their organization: How do I proceed in the absence of executive level support?
Peter suggests finding an area where you have authority, as well as others interested in improving and apply Deming’s ideas in that area (David Langford discussed the same idea here: “You are the top of your system. Change your thinking, change your process – you change your system.”). Peter also advises trying to make improvements that will impress your boss’s boss.
Ultimately you have 2 goals in mind: you want to make improvement in whatever area you are making improvements, you want to please the customers. But also you want to let people in the organization know that this stuff works. It works here, and it’s important, and it’s worth all of us learning it to begin applying it.
I have seen an organization turn around when management sees the presentation by some project team. The management before that were skeptical. But there is something that happens occasionally when a group of people get up and say, “Here’s what we found out, here are the problems we started out with, we gathered this data, we found out this about the problems, here’s the changes we introduced as a result of our investigations, here’s the results that we got from it.
Peter provides an excellent response to that question. I also addressed this question in a previous post on this blog: Using Deming’s Ideas – When Your Organization Doesn’t.
Register now for “Leading With a Systems View” – our 2.5-Day Deming Seminar, now in a series of virtual sessions! Starts June 23!!